Michael DiLuna, MD, is the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Yale Medicine. Dr. DiLuna sees adult and children patients with general neurosurgical issues.
Dr. DiLuna first became interested in neurosurgery after seeing a brain surgery during medical school. “It’s kind of like watching a birth or a heart beating—you’re struck by how the procedure’s done, how the patients wakes up, and how they recover,” he says. Soon after that, Dr. DiLuna developed a special interest in taking care of children. “The kids are brave and face their challenges much differently than adults do,” he says. “They have few concerns about their treatments. They just want to go back to school.”
When meeting with his patients and their parents, Dr. DiLuna tries to keep things simple. He explains how the procedure will unfold to the child and helps them understand the process by simulating it with the help of a team of oncologists and social workers. Dr. DiLuna also tries to alleviate the parents’ fears and answer as many of their questions as he can.
In addition to seeing patients, Dr. DiLuna conducts research on how certain genes in the brain might contribute to problems in brain development. He also collaborates with researchers on clinical trials for treatments for neurosurgical conditions. “We're taking care of a complicated part of the body that we don't understand fully,” he says. “Every day we're learning something new. The technology available to us changes so frequently it drives the field forward very quickly.”